Israel’s National Security Council’s (NSC) counterterrorism division has raised concerns about the safety of Israelis both domestically and internationally during the upcoming Jewish holidays.
A report released Thursday highlighted the potential for kidnapping attempts by the terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with the intention of using Jewish captives as bargaining tools. In addition to domestic threats, the report also stated that there is evidence to suggest that Iranian forces and their proxies may want to capture or kill Israelis abroad.
These threats are particularly concerning during the Jewish High Holiday period when many Israelis are known to travel.
Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, has publicly endorsed the idea of kidnapping Israelis, asserting that the terror group is prepared to take further captives if necessary. Speaking of several Israeli citizens who are being held by his organization, Haniyeh has stated “we have four prisoners in our possession and if this is not enough to convince Israel to make a deal, then we will kidnap more using our arms that are everywhere.”
The NSC’s warning emphasizes the need for vigilance, particularly in specific regions.
Sweden was mentioned in the report due to recent events involving the burning of the Quran, and the Sinai Peninsula is identified as another area of concern. Israeli travelers are urged to stick to secure and recognized tourist destinations.
Recent events have demonstrated the tangible nature of these threats. Greek authorities arrested two Pakistani nationals in March for allegedly planning terror attacks on a Jewish restaurant and a Chabad House in Athens. In June, authorities in Cyprus thwarted an Iranian plot aimed at Jews and Israelis, underscoring the global nature of the risk.